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They'll never break my heart: Confessions of a Backstreet Boys devotee

Yeah ... I have a lot of stuff

Only a few things have remained constant in my life since I was 12. I still have a weird obsession with Winnie the Pooh, my favorite color is still forest green and I still have a giant place in my heart — and closet — reserved for the Backstreet Boys.

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Ugh, I know. It's sad, but I can't help it. It's as if they got a hold of me with their stellar dance routines and so-cheesey-it's-awesome pop songs with rap interludes in 1997 and never let go.

The obsession was hardcore for years. I'm talking taping every TV appearance, filling three binders with images of their beautiful faces and covering every inch of my bedroom walls with posters. Eventually, after buying too many issues of Teen People, my babysitting money dwindled ... along with the Backstreet mania. But I never stopped listening to them or buying every CD they released, even after eldest member Kevin Richardson left (I'm still not over it).

Imagine my delight when I heard my boys were finally coming back to Baltimore for Mix 106.5's MixFest, 11 years after I had seen them at the then-Baltimore Arena for the Millennium tour. (Yes, I'm going to the show.) I couldn't help but go back to my mom's house, dig out boxes of memorabilia and relive the good ol' days.

Here's what got me giggling and my heart racing again:The scrapbooks: I probably spent the majority of my teen years cutting out magazine articles, organizing by group member (Nick was always first, as he should be) and putting these bad Boys together.

He's still got it

The absurd posters: Ridiculous then, more ridiculous now. Beefeater costume or not, AJ is still hot.

It's clean ... I swear

The Burger King Promos: There was a magical time back in 2000 when you could get BSB action figures with your Whopper Jr. Needless to say, I went to Burger King every week for a month to collect the limited edition CDs, superhero dolls and paper bags ... and probably gained five pounds.

The album that was played too much: I listened to Millennium on my boombox every day for a year. The tracking was slowed down considerably and still won't play at full speed. No joke.

Please, don't judge me

The videos: Every interview, music video, performance and pay-per-view tour has been recorded. I'll break out a tape if I'm feeling nostalgic.

So.Very.Pretty.

The crush: Oh, Nick Carter (above). I don't care if I'm older now than you were when this photo was shot. I still heart your blue eyes. Also, I forgive you for dating Paris Hilton. Sort-of.

The magazines, book and calendars: Seriously, I don't want to think about how much money I spent on all this stuff — or why my mom let me — but they sure are pretty, and like hell if I'm ever giving them away.

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Marissa Gallo, b

IF YOU GO:

MixFest, featuring Backstreet Boys, Train and Hanson

5 p.m. gates Sunday

Pier Six Concert Pavilion

731 Eastern Ave., Harbor East

$35-$85.

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